Month: October 2016

Creative Methods for Teaching a Foreign Language

Whether you’re a full-time teacher, a substitute, or a parent teaching at home, sometimes your students need a little push to learn. Topics may need to be made more interesting for a specific demographic, or they just need to feel a little more relevant to the students’ life. Foreign language lessons are no different. Most teachers are fully capable of being creative and coming up with ways to shake up a language lesson and here are just a couple of suggestions to help inspire.

  • Character Creation

Audience: Young Children

In this activity, children are asked to create a character. It can be anything their little minds may come up with—a human person, an animal, an imaginary creature, and beyond. To create this character, they must draw it and give it an accompanying written and spoken description and back story. For children, these descriptions do not have to be complex. It can be as simply as drawing the character—or, perhaps tracing parts and creating paper figurines, or something equally interesting and creative—and labeling the parts in the appropriate language, and telling a little about the character in a few short, simple sentences. This is an inventive way for them to practice their vocabulary.

  • Scene Reenactmentle-petit-prince

Audience: High School (and Older)

Most students love films, so a great way to get them interested and challenge their comprehension is to turn them into actors. Have them choose a film in their native language or one they have seen in the foreign language, especially if you have seen one recently during class. Then, ask them to pick a scene from that film of a certain length. Their assignment will be to perform the scene in the language being taught. If someone has a strong fear of performance, then the lesson can be adjusted and they can write the scene’s script in the appropriate language. By choosing their own film—within reason, of course—they have some freedom to express themselves, and the language becomes part of their interests.

The possibilities are almost endless; teachers can do so much with language when given the freedom to transform their classes and lessons. For teaching a foreign language materials and aids, and all sorts of extras for creative lesson-making, visit World of Reading online.

Being Bilingual Boosts the Brain

parisdvdbig1Many people function intelligently and healthily knowing only their native language. However, research and studies have long suggested that being bilingual is a strong benefit for a growing person’s brain health, as well as a person’s cultural experiences. Functioning in two languages—or more—is exercise for the mind that helps maintain its health.

The Education Benefits

Utilizing a language requires both hemispheres of the human brain; it calls for both logical and analytical thinking, and emotional and creative thinking. Those who learn as adults may take a more rational approach to comprehension, while a long-time bilingual individual—someone who learned at a young age—may have more a stronger grasp of social concepts. Studies have also shown that bilingual people may also speak better in general, leaving out unnecessary words and phrases and speaking more clearly.

The Brain Boost

Either way, the brain’s cognitive function is heightened. It has even been suggested that bi and multilingual brains have more gray matter. Speaking, reading, and writing in more than one language increases brain activity. This is mental exercise, and these workouts—like most other healthy activities—can prevent and delay certain problems, such as Alzheimer’s and related diseases.

These studies and ideas do not mean that someone with thorough knowledge of multiple languages is necessarily more intelligent than anyone else; it simply means that, in addition to the fun and cultural pluses of being multi or bilingual, there are potentially significant mental health benefits for those who work to become so. Ultimately, it is all about working toward a healthier brain.

If you are working toward becoming bilingual, visit World of Reading online. We have all that you need to pursue multi language education, whether for yourself, your students, or for your children. We have literature, textbooks, DVDs, audio, and much more. Come start your mental workout today.